Smart Waterloo Region’s Innovation Lab collaborates in newly established Youth Creativity Fund

Posted on Wednesday June 22, 2022

Waterloo Region – Smart Waterloo Region’s Innovation Lab (SWRIL) is proud to announce a collaboration with the recently established Youth Creativity Fund.

The Fund, launched earlier this month by the Business and Education Partnership of Waterloo Region, allows youth in Waterloo Region to apply for micro grants to tackle open-ended problems through innovation, developing and enhancing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Through a new partnership, 25% of funds raised through BEP for the Youth Creativity Fund will be distributed through the Region’s SWRIL via youth-led pilots focused on challenges and priorities part of the Smart Waterloo Region mandate. Such challenges may address fostering positive mental health, belonging to community, and ways to make our region a better place for youth to grow and flourish.

Current SWRIL pilots running include Innovation-Compassion Training for Children & Youth with the Waterloo Region District, Catholic District, and French Catholic School Boards, and Food Forests, which are community gardens across the region led by children and youth. SWRIL will continue to fund children and youth led projects through the BEP partnership to support creativity and social impact across the region in places where children and youth need support.

For additional information, including for donating or applying to the Youth Creativity Fund, please visit


Grayson Bass, Manager, Smart Waterloo Region

“Smart Waterloo Region’s mission is to be the best community in Canada for children and youth, and initiatives like the Youth Creativity Fund are wonderful ways to help bring this mission to life,” explained Grayson Bass, the Manager of Smart Waterloo Region. “The curious and inquisitive nature of children is an important lens through which we should be looking at problem-solving – I’m excited to see what kinds of innovations come from this program.”

Scott Verhoeve, Executive Director, BEP Waterloo Region

“We need to prepare our youth to be ready to contribute as members of the workforce by encouraging them to build transferable skills. When youth apply their creativity towards solving problems, they gain transferable skills that are critical to their future–both as members of the workforce and in their personal lives,” said Scott Verhoeve, executive director of BEP Waterloo Region. “Both initiatives strive for this outcome and are important to letting our youth know we believe in them and their potential.”

Scott Higgins, President, HIP Developments

“While visioning the Youth Creativity Fund, we talked to the Region and learned that Smart Waterloo Region Innovation Lab was working on a similar but different initiative and immediately got excited about collaborating,” explained Scott Higgins, President of HIP Developments. “By pooling resources and working together, we can accelerate the community commitment to our kids in Waterloo Region and help build their creative confidence even faster by letting them know the community wants to invest in them.”

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